Friday, September 9, 2011

I don't believe ontology exists

Just an honest, gut reaction here. After a discussion group today about science and faith, I think my head will explode if I hear one more mention of ontology. We're reading through John Polkinghorne's Exploring Reality (the title really narrows down the discussion, don't you think?) and of course the first chapter had to do with this study of the "nature of being." Look, it may be interesting to distinguish between questions like, "Does God exist?" on the one hand, and "Do subatomic particles exist?" on the other. But folks, let's just agree that the difficulty in making such distinctions does not lie in the word "exist." I don't think anyone was ever convinced that something existed because he experienced a conversion of ontological principles. I have to fault the Christians, not the atheists, for bringing it up. I believe the word "ontology" was actually an ancient incantation spoken by a philosopher in ancient times as an attempt to frighten and confuse his opponents. My theory is that it never worked, but they kept doing it all the same until it finally became legitimized as a real (but how will I ever know it's "real"?????) subject of philosophical inquiry. Moral of the story: avoid talking about ontology at all costs.

Speaking of banning words, however, beware lest you fall off the other side of the horse. For all the atheists' reliance on rationality, some of them occasionally say some amazingly silly things. Heard today:
"I don't think the word ought has any meaning, and it should be eliminated from our language."
Do you need to read that again? Maybe this time I'll put some emphasis where it needs to be:
"I don't think the word ought has any meaning, and it should be eliminated from our language."
If he's allowed to say that, then I'm allowed to say, "Ontology doesn't exist."

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